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Apple Enjoys Comeback in China as iPhone Sales Jump 52%

Apple iPhone

Shipments of Apple’s iPhone climbed 52% in China last month following a wave of sales and markdowns.

That’s according to a report Tuesday (May 28) by Bloomberg News, citing new figures from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

Those numbers showed a surge of smartphone shipments in China, 3.5 million of them coming from foreign companies, Bloomberg calculated. The iPhone makes up the bulk of those devices, with its resurgence coming after major decreases earlier this year. 

The report notes that Apple — along with resellers in China — has been slashing prices since the year began. Those discounts are continuing as China prepares for its June 18 shopping festival. Apple is hoping to gain ground after suffering huge dips in sales as it competes in China with homegrown brands like Huawei.

“The growth reflects two things: Apple was preparing for the 618 online shopping festival, which we could see from its recent price discounts,” Will Wong, an analyst at industry tracker IDC, told Bloomberg. “The resilient high-end users showed signs of buying better mobile devices to use for a longer time, which in turn will lead to longer replacement cycles.”

Last week saw reports that Apple had begun a campaign of heavy discounting on the iPhone in China, with the flagship product marked down by up to 2,300 yuan (about $320).

During the company’s quarterly earnings call earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that iPhone sales in China had risen during the prior quarter.

“We still saw growth in the iPhone in some markets, including mainland China,” Cook said, as sales from the greater China market fell 8% from a year ago.

Replying to analysts’ questions about China, Cook said: “What we saw was an acceleration from Q1, and it was driven by iPhone. … The other products didn’t fare as well, and so we clearly have work there to do. I think it has been and is, through last quarter, the most competitive market in the world.”

Meanwhile, PYMNTS’ Karen Webster recently examined the state of Apple following that earnings report.

She covered the various setbacks the company has been dealing with in categories like wearables, the Vision Pro and its connected car efforts.

“Unless Apple has another transformative product innovation hiding up its sleeves, Apple’s growth is entirely dependent upon people buying the next generation of iPhone, upgrading them and using them,” Webster wrote. “The same form factor, more or less, that they have been buying for the last 17 years.